Guidelines for Strategy Game Design

A functional and lightweight game design manual by Level 99's D. Brad Talton Jr,
on how to create tense, dynamic, decision-driven games.

§ 2.1 - Decisions are meaningful.

§ 2.1 - Decisions are meaningful.

§ 2.1 - Decisions are meaningful.

A game can have a lot of decisions without offering a lot of strategy. When the right move is obvious or automatic, the decision isn’t meaningful.

Small and pointless decisions are tedious, and will bore players.

Meaningful decisions are those where a player is able to implement or advance their strategy in a significant way.

When a decision isn’t meaningful, look for ways to avoid it. For example, you could have a game where players build the terrain before play. But if the terrain building isn’t a significant strategic consideration for the player, it could just as easily be randomized, and no gameplay will be lost.

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